West Nile virus kills two more Houston residents

August 22, 2012 3:36:22 AM PDT
On the eve of the season's first aerial spraying to fight the West Nile virus, we've learned that more Harris County residents have contracted the disease. So far there have been 13 cases in Houston, three of those patients died.

On Wednesday evening, spraying to suppress the disease will begin in an area of northwest Harris County. The insecticide will target mosquitoes, which spread the virus.

For those playing in a volleyball league at Memorial Park Tuesday night, the bug spray was just as important as the ball.

"It's in my car; have it with me at all times," said Sandy Rojas.

And this season, insect repellant is especially needed. According to the latest count, Texas has had more West Nile deaths this year than in the last five years.

Houston has logged 13 cases of infection around the city and three of the state's deaths, with two of those people living in southwest Houston and one from the northeast side.

"I'm even worried for my dog," said Rojas.

In Harris County, six people have been diagnosed with West Nile; no fatalities, but 342 mosquito and 100 bird samples have come back infected.

To combat it, an air assault is planned for Wednesday night over 63,000 acres in northwest Harris County. This is to supplement the ongoing ground spraying.

"The aerial operation really helps us to cover some of the hot spots, but at the same time it releases trucks to cover other areas," said Rudy Bueno, Director of Harris Co. Mosquito Control.

It's the county's 11th season to use aerial spraying, a major operation; while all you have to do is be diligent about applying repellant if outdoors and securing your home from mosquitoes. Simple advice for a problem that's not going away.

Elsewhere in the state, more than 200 cases have been reported in Dallas County and at least 10 people have died. In fact, officials declared the West Nile virus an epidemic in the city and approved aerial mosquito spraying.

Ways to keep mosquitos at bay:

  • Make sure storms drains near your home are clear of debris and any extra water.
  • And at dusk and dawn-- wear long sleeves and pants if possible.
  • Also, use a bug spray that contains DEET.

The city of Houston suggests making sure you're keeping mosquitos out of your home. They said in many reported cases in the past, they have found that the victims where actually bit inside their homes, rather than from being outside.

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